The Cayman Islands is once again coming under attack from
people based in the United Kingdom.
This time it’s the World Society for the Protection of
Animals and they want us to shutter the Cayman Turtle Farm.
A report from the animal protection group paints a bleak
picture for turtles and humans that interact with them at the farm in West Bay.
We think some of their claims are a bit far fetched and we
take umbrage with people who know nothing of Cayman’s heritage and culture
telling us we should quit our tradition of eating turtle meat.
But Cayman Free Press has long reported on and written
editorials about the financing problems that continue to plague the attraction.
We still think a private entity should be running the farm.
From the destruction of the original Turtle Farm by
Hurricane Michelle in 2001 to the grandiose plans of Boatswain’s Beach, which
opened in 2007 already bleeding red ink, the farm has been in financial straits
Auditors general, complaints commissioners and others have
long been warning government about the spending at the Turtle Farm and there
was at least one police inquiry a few years ago.
In the territory’s newest budget, government plans $10.5
million for debt servicing and operations at the Cayman Turtle Farm.
So yes, the government should get rid of the Turtle Farm by
finding a private-sector entity to take it over.
While some of the findings in the WSPA report may be
accurate, the way the group presented itself and its report is irresponsible.
Those who represented themselves as WSPA members said they
wanted to work with the Turtle Farm to ensure the safety of the turtles.
It is clear now that their mission is to have the farm shut
down. We can be sure this report is going to damage our reputation
There is a need for the farm and the continued promotion of
turtle conservation, not just for the Cayman Islands, but the world at large,
but it must be taken out of government’s hands.